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Zelensky speech live: Biden will send drones, anti-aircraft aid to Ukraine after stirring address to Congress

Zelensky asks Americans to remember Pearl Harbour and 9/11

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has addressed the US Congress virtually after being invited by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. He received a standing ovation when he appeared on the screen before lawmakers.

During his remarks, he called on the US to remember Pearl Harbour and the September 11 terrorist attacks as it sees the people of Ukraine attacked and killed by Russian forces.

The Ukrainian president told lawmakers in his wartime address to Congress on Wednesday that Ukraine “experiences the same every day” now as America did during its own darkest days.

Mr Zelensky also asked Congress for Soviet-made air defence systems and fighter jets as an alternative to a Nato-enforced humanitarian no-fly zone over his country’s airspace.

US and Nato officials have so far declined his pleas for a no-fly zone over Ukraine because such a measure would place Nato warplanes at risk of direct engagement with Russian aircraft, raising the possibility of a nuclear confrontation.

President Joe Biden has responded to Mr Zelensky’s remarks by announcing $800m (£612m) of new aid, bringing the total aid sent to Ukraine in the last week alone to $1bn.

This new support includes 800 anti-aircraft systems; 9,000 anti-armor systems; 7,000 machine guns, shotguns and grenade launchers with 20 million rounds of ammunition; and drones, which he says “demonstrates our commitment” to Ukraine’s defence.

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Biden calls Putin a war criminal

Following remarks at an event commemorating the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorisation, President Joe Biden was asked about Russian President Vladimir Putin.

He replied: “He is a war criminal.”

Previously, the White House has been careful to say that allegations of Russian war crimes in Ukraine are being reviewed.

Oliver O’Connell16 March 2022 19:04

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Mariupol theatre where ‘lots of civilians’ were sheltering hit by Russian bombs

A further reminder of the desperate situation of many Ukrainian citizens came just hours after President Zelensky’s speech to Congress.

Russian forces have bombed a theatre where civilians were sheltering in the besieged city of Mariupol, local officials said.

It said the number of casualties was not yet known. One report claimed there were ‘a lot of citizens’ hiding in the theatre.

David Harding reports for The Independent.

Oliver O’Connell16 March 2022 19:00

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White House reveals details of military aid

A White House fact sheet details new aide to Ukraine as signed into law by President Joe Biden on Wednesday lunchtime following President Volodymyr Zelensky’s speech to Congress.

  • 800 Stinger anti-aircraft systems;
  • 2,000 Javelin, 1,000 light anti-armor weapons, and 6,000 AT-4 anti-armor systems;
  • 100 Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems;
  • 100 grenade launchers, 5,000 rifles, 1,000 pistols, 400 machine guns, and 400 shotguns;
  • Over 20 million rounds of small arms ammunition and grenade launcher and mortar rounds;
  • 25,000 sets of body armor; and
  • 25,000 helmets.

Previous military assistance includes:

  • Over 600 Stinger anti-aircraft systems;
  • Approximately 2,600 Javelin anti-armor systems;
  • Five Mi-17 helicopters;
  • Three patrol boats;
  • Four counter-artillery and counter-unmanned aerial system tracking radars;
  • Four counter-mortar radar systems;
  • 200 grenade launchers and ammunition;
  • 200 shotguns and 200 machine guns;
  • Nearly 40 million rounds of small arms ammunition and over 1 million grenade, mortar, and artillery rounds;
  • 70 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs) and other vehicles;
  • Secure communications, electronic warfare detection systems, body armor, helmets, and other tactical gear;
  • Military medical equipment to support treatment and combat evacuation;
  • Explosive ordnance disposal and demining equipment; and
  • Satellite imagery and analysis capability.

Oliver O’Connell16 March 2022 18:46

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Financier under fire for tweet: ‘Doesn’t he own a suit?’

A Republican financier has come under fire for crassly criticising the outfit Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wore during his speech to US lawmakers.

Peter Schiff, a former congressional candidate in Connecticut and the chief economist at Wall Street giant Euro Pacific Capital, took aim at Mr Zelensky at the conclusion of his joint address to Congress on Wednesday morning.

Oliver O’Connell16 March 2022 18:29

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‘Churchillian’ speech wows Congress – but most still think no-fly zone goes too far

Ukraine’s president spoke to Congress in a rare, historic early-morning address on Wednesday and delivered an impassioned plea for more western assistance in his country’s effort to fight off a Russian invasion.

During his speech, Volodymyr Zelensky reiterated once again his desire for President Joe Biden and other leaders of Nato nations to institute a no-fly-zone throughout Ukraine’s airspace, which would be aimed at preventing Russian airstrikes on Ukraine’s civilian centres.

But in conversations with lawmakers after his roughly 10-minute address, it was clear that many in the US see that idea as a step that would draw the US into a direct war with Russia — a prospect for which there is little political attraction on Capitol Hill.

John Bowden reports for The Independent from the US Capitol.

Oliver O’Connell16 March 2022 18:10

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ICYMI: Read a transcript of Zelensky speech to Congress

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the US Congress virtually on Wednesday, calling for more military support to fight of Russia’s invasion. Below is a rough transcript of Mr Zelensky’s speech.

Oliver O’Connell16 March 2022 17:55

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Manchin seen swiping on iPad during Zelensky speech

As Ukraine’s embattled president spoke to the United States Congress, Senator Joe Manchin was spotted fiddling on his iPad.

Oliver O’Connell16 March 2022 17:35

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‘May God protect the young Ukrainians out there defending their country’

Oliver O’Connell16 March 2022 17:20

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Biden: ‘This will be a long and difficult battle’

Oliver O’Connell16 March 2022 17:15

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More details on the new $800m defence aid to Ukraine.

• 800 new anti-aircraft systems
• 9K anti-armor systems (shoulder mounted missiles)
• 7K small arms (machine guns, shotguns, grenades
• 20 million rounds of ammo

“This will include drones,” he adds but does not specify a number.

Oliver O’Connell16 March 2022 17:11

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